Persian Dogs (2016)
Project info

'Persian Dogs' focuses on dogs in Iran under religious dilemma.

Nowadays in Iran, collisions between traditional Islamic teachings and new viewpoints are ubiquitous. The status of the Iranian (Persian) dogs reflects these conflicts. One can rarely see dogs on the streets of Tehran, since police will shoot them after they are reported. The teachings made it difficult for the dogs, and there were attempts to make ownership illegal in recent years. The root of these hostility comes from statements found in the Sahih Hadith, “Angels will not enter a house wherein there is a dog … ”, “Prayer is annulled by a dog, … if they pass in front of the praying people.”

However, in northern parts of Tehran, lots of people enjoy having pet dogs. Most of them belong to the wealthier end of the social spectrum. In Iran, having a dog is often considered a statement of new thinkings, or a sign of rebellion, similar to dyeing hair, having a nose job or wearing fancy clothes. Yet oftentimes they have to put up with their neighbours or even families.

Animal shelters are peculiar existences; there are no laws to protect the shelters. The largest of them, Vafa Animal Shelter, situated in a deserted landscape, far away from Tehran. Three workers and 40 volunteers (mostly wealthy people) have been risking sabotage, while they rescue and currently taking care of more than 700 dogs, without easily accessible water, electricity and natural gas.